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Books on our Brains Society/ Barbara

California
  • 8
  • reviews
  • 68
  • helpful votes
  • 58
  • ratings

A saga of Africa and African immigrants

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-02-19

I really enjoyed 85% of this book. Divided into three sections, the story spans about one hundred years or so, using fantasy and magical realism swirled into to historical events. When the plot moved into the realm of science fiction, it lost me for a bit. but the author manages a satisfying ending. One note... I recommend getting a hard copy of the book, or the kindle edition, in addition to the audible version. You will definitely want to keep referring to the family tree diagram at the front. Otherwise it's very hard to keep the characters straight. Books On Our Brains Society read this as our monthly selection and all felt the family tree diagram was essential.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Tasty!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-02-19

Save Me the Plums is a thoroughly enjoyable romp through the world of Conde Nast's Gourmet, and it's demise, as written and narrated by its former editor Ruth Reichl. You don't have to be a cook or a foodie to savor this memoir. Just let Ruth tell you her story. Delicious!

Magical realism during sickness and revolution

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-15-19

First, let me note that the narration of this book was absolutely excellent. Angelo Di Loreto performs the voice of Francisco with deep emotional connection to the story. Xe Sands performs the exposition sections with the cadence and emotion you would expect from this reminiscence of a slower agrarian lifestyle. The story unfolds as a history of a family, and a remembrance by the main character, Francisco, of his childhood protector and friend. This book will not be everyone's taste as the pace is slow, with lush descriptions and deep emotions. You will know the ending of the book fairly early on, but the journey is worth it.
I give the story a 4.75, only for a short section toward the end that drags on unnecessarily long.
If you have enjoyed the books of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, you will enjoy this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Full disclosure: I love running

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-27-19

Peter Sagal's Incomplete Book of Running made me long for my favorite form of exercise but can no longer participate in, and only dream about, because of ruined knees. I laughed, I cried. Peter's narration was witty and wonderful, as only he could tell it. This book is for anyone who slavishly posted to Jim Fixx's Complete Book of Running workbook to get through their first marathon.

Written like a romance novel...

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-21-19

Complete with bodice ripping. The fictionalization of this incredible woman’s life does her no justice. The narration is slow and ponderous.

58 of 64 people found this review helpful

Tripping with Michael Pollan

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-05-18

Michael Pollan, the environmentalist and nature writer, explores the history and science of psilocybe (mushrooms), LSD, Ayahuasca, and toad venom, while using himself as a research subject to personally experience the effects of psychoactive plants and substances in How to Change Your Mind. The fascinating history of psychedelic drugs is laced with information about government experimentation with LSD, sometimes on unsuspecting individuals (see Wormwood on Netflix), and micro dosing LSD in Silicon Valley to produce technological breakthroughs through mind expansion.

Pollan reports on his guided clinical sessions with trained therapists working under the radar (these substances are illegal) with thought provoking insight, humor, and empathy for the human condition. He presents a convincing argument for the psychic healing properties of these substances while taken in a controlled environment with a sympathetic and experienced coach. Michael narrates his book, and gives it his authenticity in the reading.


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

A lot of fluff before you get to the nuggets.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-05-18

Jordan Peterson is a political and cultural lightening rod. The Canadian clinical psychologist writes and speaks (he reads his work in the audible version) with the fervor of a Baptist preacher on Sunday morning. The book is full of biblical references and pontification. There are passages that annoy. There are statements that irritate, particularly some that feel outright misogynistic. But if you can allow yourself edit the sermonizing, he is not wrong. Much of what Peterson says is what we need to hear in our troubled times. Some of the best advice concerns raising children to be good citizens, brave and resilient. "Do not bother children when they are skateboarding" explains the dangers of helicopter parenting. "Do not allow your children to do anything that makes you dislike them" lays out the case for effective discipline. "Tell the truth--or at least don't lie" is an admonishment for the current political scene. As I walk now each morning, I hear his somewhat grating voice, that chastising parent in my head, say "Stand up straight with your shoulders back." For that alone, I can recommend this book.


A must for fans of Paul Simon

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-05-18

I've had a subscription to the LA Times most of my adult life. Robert Hilburn was the rock music critic for the Times for 35 of those years. His biography, Paul Simon: The Life, is a loving and unblinking portrait of one of the greatest songwriters of my generation. In his book about Simon's life devoted to writing songs and making music, Hilburn describes Paul Simon's struggles to balance professional life with a stable and happy personal one. He details Simon's close but antagonistic relationship with Art Garfunkel, finally ending in an irreparable split. But the best parts of the book are about Simon's creative process in songwriting. These passages are deeply personal and wonderfully insightful. Simon's struggle to always improve through learning from and collaborating with other musicians sets an example for any striving novice. As a 50-plus year fan of Simon's music, Paul Simon: The Life was a sublime read (or listen) and deeply affecting. Kudos to the narrator, Dennis Boutsikaris.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful